Frauke Kreuter, Stephanie Eckman, Roger Tourangeau
The Salience of Survey Burden and Its Effect on Response Behavior to Skip Questions: Experimental Results from Telephone and Web Surveys

Pp. 213-227 in: Paul Beatty, Debbie Collins, Lyn Kaye, Jose Padilla, Gordon Willis, Amanda Wilmot (Eds.): Advances in Questionnaire Design, Development, Evaluation and Testing. 2020. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley

Survey questionnaires often contain skip patterns, which let respondents skip over entire sections or a set of follow‐up questions that do not apply to them, and thus allow them to proceed through the interview faster. Survey designers might ask how filter and follow‐up questions can be presented to reduce the risk of motivated underreporting. We designed a series of experiments in which we varied the salience of the repetitive nature of filter and follow‐up questions. The results show that changes in topic removed the salience of the filtering patterns. Using slightly varied follow‐up questions and reducing the repetitiveness of the task increased endorsements to filter questions and thus successfully mitigated the effect of motivated underreporting. On the other hand, a visualization of the filtering by graying out items that no longer need to be answered reduced endorsements. Implications for questionnaire design involving filter questions are discussed.